Alexis Frank Hartmann

Alexis Frank Hartmann (1898-1964)

Alexis Frank Hartmann (1898-1964) was an American pediatrician and clinical biochemist.

Hartmann developed a technique to measure sugar in patients’ blood whilst a medical student – a significant step towards the discovery of insulin.

Hartmann also created a fluid and electrolyte replacement therapy for infants universally known as Lactated Ringer’s solution, or Hartmann’s Solution.

In 1932, modified Ringer’s solution by adding sodium lactate to it with the idea of combating acidosis in his young patients.


Biography

  • 1898 – Born in St Louis, Missouri, USA. His paternal grandfather, Dr. Alexis Karl Hartmann, served as a surgeon during the Civil War. His is father was also a General Practitioner 
  • 1921 – Graduated from the Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis. He was awarded the Gill Prize in Pediatrics that same year
  • 1922 – Married Gertrude Krochmann. Together they had two sons, including Alexis Frank, Jr., M.D who himself became a Professor of Pediatrics
  • 1932 – Modified Ringer’s solution by adding sodium lactate to combat acidosis in his young patients
  • 1936 – Appointed Head of Department at the St Louis Children’s Hospital and Professor of Pediatrics in the University 
  • 1963 – Awarded the first Abraham Jacobi Prize Award in recognition of his outstanding achievements in Pediatrics
  • 1964 – Was dedicated the June issue of The Journal of Pediatrics. He died later that same year from cancer, aged 66

Medical Eponyms

  • Hartmann’s Solution – Synonyms: compound sodium lactate, sodium lactate solution, Ringer-Locke’s solution, Ringer-lactate, lactated Ringer’s solution (LRS)
  • Schaffer-Hartmann Method – for true blood glucose analysis

Key Medical Attributions

  • His interest in childhood diabetes and research led to the 1932 publication of two studies that showed differences in serum electrolyte patterns in dehydration and described the use of the solution to treat acidosis in children.
  • Hartmann influenced Carl and Gerty Cori by recommending that they study glucose-6-phosphatase in glycogen storage disease – groundbreaking work that eventually earned them the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1947

Fun Facts

  • In Britain, the modification is called Hartmann’s solution after the American, although Alexis F Hartmann never used this name himself.  In America it is called Ringer’s Lactate after the Englishman, Sydney Ringer

Major Publications

  • Shaffer PA, Hartmann AF. The Iodometric Determination of Copper and its Use in Sugar Analysis. I. Equilibria in the Reaction Between Copper Sulfate and potassium iodide. J. Biol. Chem. 1921 45: 349-
  • Pennoyer MM, Hartmann AF Sr. Management of infants born of diabetic mothers. Postgrad Med. 1955 Sep;18(3):199-206. [PMID 13254545]
  • Hartmann AF, Senn MJE. Studies in the metabolism of sodium r-lactate. I. Response of normal human subjects to the intravenous injection of sodium r-lactate. J Clin Invest. 1932 Mar; 11(2): 327–335. [PMC435816]
  • Hartmann AF, Senn MJE. Studies in the metabolism of sodium r-lactate. II. Response of human subjects with acidosis to the intravenous injection of sodium r-lactate. J Clin Invest. 1932 Mar; 11(2): 337–344. [PMC435817]
  • Hartmann AF, Senn MJE. Studies in the metabolism of sodium r-lactate. III. Response Of Human subjects with liver damage, disturbed water and mineral balance, and renal insufficiency to the intravenous injection of sodium r-lactate. J Clin Invest. 1932 Mar; 11(2): 345–355. [PMC435817]

References

  • Alexis F. Hartmann, Sr. Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives [Archive Files]
  • White PJ. Alexis F. Hartmann, Sr. J Pediatr. 1964 Jun;64:783-92. [PMID 14172226]

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